Waiakea Races to Top of BIIF DI Standings
Waiakea High School’s boys basketball team has put itself in the driver’s seat for a regular season championship and a spot in the Hawai’i High School Athletic Association state championships.
Four players reached double-digits in scoring for Waiakea in a key win over Kamehameha-Hawai’i by the final score of 66-62 on Friday. It was the ninth straight win for the public school Warriors, who improved to 12-3 overall and 5-0 in Big Island Interscholastic Federation play.
“It was like an Oahu-style played game. We had the half court trap and stuff, and the half court offense and defense was battling on both sides,” said veteran Waiakea coach Paul Lee.
Sitting in the driver’s seat of Waiakea’s recent success has been junior Calvin Mattos, last year’s BIIF Division I Player of the Year. He, along with Noah Ferreira, scored 11 points in the win.
Waiakea’s nine-game winning streak, however, has reinforced the key parts to the engine that has made everything work. For example, senior Kahinu Alapai provided the horsepower in the Warriors’ engine. He scored a team-high 22 points, including 12 in the second half, and played tough defense on Kamehameha-Hawai’i’s Samuel Kahapea underneath.
Maybe the biggest catalyst to Waiakea’s win was one of the fastest boys in the state, Louie Ondo. With his team down by seven in the final minutes of the third quarter, he sparked a 6-0 run with a variety of plays. It started with an open underneath basket off of an inbounds play. He then forced a steal and converted it into a layup. On the very next possession, he forced another turnover, pushing the ball ahead to Mattos for a layup and a foul to cut Kamehameha-Hawai’i’s lead to 41-40.
“He’s a spark plug,” Lee said of Ondo. “In the second half, he came out and let the game come to him. He was more patient, he attacked the basket, he made the passes when he needed to.”
Later in the quarter, Ondo got involved on defense again, forcing another turnover, which led to Ferreira’s fast-break layup and a foul, putting Waiakea ahead 44-43 with 36 seconds remaining in the period.
Ondo scored the first four points of the fourth quarter as well, first on a reverse layup, courtesy of a touch assist from Mattos. After Kamehameha-Hawai’i’s Bayley Manliguis missed a three-pointer on the other end, Ondo raced the other way with the basketball and drained a pull-up mid-range shot with contact to extend the lead to 48-43. He finished with 13 points.
Kamehameha-Hawai’i (14-3 overall, 3-2 BIIF) got back into the game, though, despite Waiakea’s attempts to put the game in a deep freeze by spreading the floor in the first few minutes of the fourth. Pukana Vincent was fouled on his way to the rim, and his free throw cut Waiakea’s lead to three at 49-46. Moments later, his drive to the basket opened up a pass for Solomon Escalante, who drained a trey to tie the game at 49-49 with 4:02 remaining.
Vincent scored 22 points to lead Kamehameha-Hawai’i. Escalante added 11.
Despite Kamehameha-Hawai’i’s late surge, Waiakea continued to ice the game down, waiting for a defensive overplay to get layups at the rim and chances at free throws, keeping its opponent at bay for the rest of the game.
With the win, Waiakea holds a one-game lead over Konawaena (4-1) in the Division I standings. However, the Warriors defeated the Wildcats back on Dec. 28. A tie at the top of the standings would force both state tournament berths to be decided at the KTA Super Stores/BIIF Boys Basketball Tournament, held at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium on Feb. 12-13.
Kamehameha-Hawai’i 14 13 16 19 – 62
Waiakea 14 10 20 22 – 66
Friday’s BIIF scoreboard
Waiakea 66, Kamehameha-Hawai’i 62
Konawaena 39, Kea’au 35
Hawai’i Preparatory Academy 56, Hilo 48
Kealakehe 69, Kohala 49
Honoka’a 69, Ka’u 26
Pahoa 41, St. Joseph 38
BIIF boys basketball standings
Waiakea – 5-0 (12-3 overall)
Konawaena – 4-1 (11-5)
Kamehameha-Hawai’i – 3-2 (14-3)
Kealakehe – 2-2 (2-13)
Hilo – 2-3 (7-11)
Kea’au – 1-4 (9-6)
Hawai’i Preparatory Academy – 1-0 (5-3)
Honoka’a – 3-1 (13-8)
Pahoa – 2-1 (6-4)
Kohala – 2-3 (5-10)
St. Joseph – 1-3 (9-12)
Ka’u 1-3 (1-12)
Laupahoehoe – 0-7 (0-4)